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value of the old and partly exhausted lands of the Atlantic States. Labor was drawn off to found plantations in the new States, and the injurious consequences were ascribed to the tariff. Considerations of a political nature had entirely changed the tolerant feeling which, up to a certain period, had been shown by one class of Southern politicians toward the protective policy. With the exception of Louisiana, and one or two votes in Virginia, the whole South was united against the tariff. South Carolina had suffered most by the inability of her worn lands to sustain the competition with the lands of the Yazoo and the Red River, and to her the most active opposition, under the lead of Mr. Calhoun, was confined. The modern doctrine of nullifi- . cation was broached by her accomplished statesmen, and an unsuccessful attempt made to deduce it from the Virginia resolutions of 1798. Mr. Madison, in a letter addressed to the writer of these pages,* in August, 1830, firmly resisted this attempt; and, as a theory, the whole doctrine of nullification was overthrown by Mr. Webster, in his speech of the 26th of January, 1830. But public sentiment had gone too far in South Carolina to be checked; party leaders were too deeply committed to retreat; and at the close of 1832 the ordinance of nullification was adopted by a State convention.

This decisive act roused the hero of New Orleans from the vigilant repose with which he had watched the coming storm. Confidential orders to hold themselves in readiness for active service were sent in every direction to the officers of the army and the navy. Prudent and resolute men were quietly stationed at the proper posts. Arms and munitions in abundance were held in readiness, and a chain of expresses in advance of the mail was established from the Capitol to Charleston. These preparations made, the Presidential proclamation of the 11th of December, 1832, was issued. It was written by Mr. Edward Livingston, then Secretary of State, from notes furnished by General Jackson himself; but there is not an idea of importance in it which may not be found in Mr. Webster's speech on Foot's resolution.

The proclamation of the President was met by the counterproclamation of Governor Hayne; and the State of South Car

North American Review, Vol. XXXI. p. 537.

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olina proceeded to pass laws for carrying the ordinance of nullification into effect, and for putting the State into a condition to carry on war with the general government. In this posture of affairs the President of the United States laid the matter before Congress, in his message of the 16th of January, 1833, and the bill “ further to provide for the collection of duties on imports was introduced into the Senate, in pursuance of his recommendations. Mr. Calhoun was at this time a member of that body, having been chosen to succeed Governor Hayne, and having of course resigned the office of Vice-President. Thus called, for the first time, to sustain in person before the Senate and the country the policy of nullification, which had been adopted by South Carolina mainly under his influence, and which was now threatening the Union, it hardly need be said that he exerted all his ability, and put forth all his resources, in defence of the doctrine which had brought his State to the verge of revolution. It is but justice to add, that he met the occasion with equal courage and vigor. The bill “ to make further provision for the collection of the revenue," or " Force Bill," as it was called, was reported by Mr. Wilkins from the Committee on the Judiciary on the 21st of January, and on the following day Mr. Calhoun moved a series of resolutions, affirming the right of a State to annul, as far as her citizens are concerned, any act of Congress which she may deem oppressive and unconstitutional. On the 15th and 16th of February, he spoke at length in opposition to the bill, and in development and support of his resolutions. On this occasion the doctrine of nullifi- . cation was sustained by him with far greater ability than it had been by General Hayne, and in a speech which we believe is regarded as Mr. Calhoun's most powerful effort. his speech, Mr. Calhoun challenged the opponents of his doctrines to disprove them, and warned them, in the concluding sentence, that the principles they might advance would be subjected to the revision of posterity.*

Mr. Webster, before Mr. Calhoun had resumed his seat, or he had risen from his own, accepted the challenge, and commenced his reply. He began to speak as he was rising, and continued to address the Senate with great force and effect, for about

• This passage does not appear in the report preserved in the volume containing his Select Speeches.


In closing two hours. The Senate then took a recess, and after it came together Mr. Webster spoke again, from five o'clock till eight in the evening The speech was more purely a constitutional argument than that of the 26th of January, 1830. It was mainly devoted to an examination of Mr. Calhoun's resolutions; to a review of the adoption and ratification of the Constitution of the United States, by way of elucidating the question whether the system provided by the Constitution is a government of the people or a compact between the States; and to a discussion of the constitutionality of the tariff. It was less various and discursive in its matter than the speech on Foot's resolution, but more condensed and systematic. Inferior, perhaps, in interest for a mixed audience, from the absence of personal allusions, which at all times give the greatest piquancy to debate, a severe judgment might pronounce it a finer piece of parliamentary logic. Nor must it be inferred from this description that it was destitute of present interest. The Senate-chamber was thronged to its utmost capacity, both before and after the recess, although the streets of Washington, owing to the state of the weather at the time, were nearly impassable.

The opinion entertained of this speech by the individual who, of all the people of America, was the best qualified to estimate its value, may be seen from the following letter of Mr. Madison, which has never before been published.

late very



Montpellier, March 15th, 1833. “ MY DEAR SIR: – I return my thanks for the copy


your powerful speech in the Senate of the United States. It crushes nullification, and must hasten an abandonment of secession.' But this dodges the blow, by confounding the claim to secede at will with the right of seceding from intolerable oppression. The former answers itself, being a violation without cause of a faith solemnly pledged. The latter is another name only for revolution, about which there is no theoretic controversy. Its double aspect, nevertheless, with the countenance received from certain quarters, is giving it a popular currency here, which may influence the approaching elections both for Congress and for the State legislature. It has gained some advantage also by mixing itself with the question, whether the Constitution of the United States was formed by the people or by the States, now under a theoretic discussion by animated partisans.

" It is fortunate when disputed theories can be decided by undisputed facts, and here the undisputed fact is, that the Constitution was made by the people, but as embodied into the several States who were parties to it, and therefore made by the States in their highest authoritative ca pacity. They might, by the same authority and by the same process, have converted the confederacy into a mere league or treaty, or continued it with enlarged or abridged powers; or have embodied the people of their respective States into one people, nation, or sovereignty ; or, as they did, by a mixed form, make them one people, nation, or sov. ereignty for certain purposes, and not so for others.

“ The Constitution of the United States, being established by a competent authority, by that of the sovereign people of the several States who were parties to it, it remains only to inquire what the Constitution is; and here it speaks for itself. It organizes a government into the usual legislative, executive, and judiciary departments; invests it with specified powers, leaving others to the parties to the Constitution. It makes the government like other governments to operate directly on the people; places at its command the needful physical means of executing its powers; and finally proclaims its supremacy, and that of the laws made in pursuance of it, over the constitutions and laws of the States, the powers of the government being exercised, as in other elective and responsible governments, under the control of its constituents, the people and the legislatures of the States, and subject to the revolutionary rights of the people, in extreme cases.

“ Such is the Constitution of the United States de jure and de facto, and the name, whatever it be, that may be given to it can make it nothing more or less than what it is.

“Pardon this hasty effusion, which, whether precisely according or not with your ideas, presents, I am aware, none that will be new to you. “ With great esteem and cordial salutations,


It may be observed, in reference to the closing remark in the above important letter, that the view which it presents of the nature of the government established by the Constitution is precisely that taken by Mr. Webster in the various speeches in which the subject is discussed by him.

The President of the United States felt the importance of Mr. Webster's aid in the great constitutional struggle of the session. There were men of great ability enlisted in support of his administration, Messrs Forsyth, Grundy, Dallas, Rives, and others, but no one competent to assume the post of antag.

onist to the great Southern leader. The general political position of Mr. Webster made it in no degree his duty to sustain the administration in any party measure, but the reverse. But his whole course as a public man, and all his principles, forbade him to act from party motives in a great crisis of the country's fortunes. The administration was now engaged in a fearful struggle for the preservation of the Union, and the integrity of the Constitution. The doctrines of the proclamation were the doctrines of his speech on Foot's resolution almost to the words. He would have been unjust to his most cherished principles and his views of public duty had he not come to the rescue, not of the administration, but of the country, in this hour of her peril. His aid was personally solicited in the great debate on the “Force Bill" by a member of the Cabinet, but it was not granted till the bill had undergone important amendments suggested by him, when it was given cordially, without stint and without condition.*

In the recess of Congress in the year 1833, Mr. Webster made a short journey to the Middle States and the West. He was everywhere the object of the most distinguished and respectful attentions. Public receptions took place at Buffalo and Pittsburg, where, under the auspices of committees of the highest respectability, he addressed immense assemblages convened without distinction of party. Invitations to similar meetings reached him from many quarters, which he was obliged by want of leisure to decline.

The friendly relations into which Mr. Webster had been drawn with the President, and the enthusiastic welcome given to the President on his tour to the East, in the summer of 1833, awakened jealousy in certain quarters. It was believed at the time, by well-informed persons, that among the motives which actuated some persons in General Jackson's confidence, in fanning his hostility to the Bank of the United States, was that of bringing forward a question of great interest both to the

It is not wholly unworthy of remark in this place, as illustrating the dependence on Mr. Webster's aid which was felt at the White House, that, on the day of his reply to Mr. Calhoun, the President's carriage was sent to Mr. Webster's lodgings, as was supposed with a message borne by the President's private secretary. Happening to be still at the door when Mr. Webster was about to go to the Capitol, it conveyed him to the Senate-chamber. VOL. I.


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